"J. P. Gilliver (John)" <G6JPGemail@example.com> wrote
| I haven't looked at a _new_ car for many years (possibly decades!), but
| I _think_ they are still available in UK. (Not sure though: electric
| ones may actually be cheaper to _make_ now.)
I doubt that. I doubt even more that they could
be cheaper to repair. And cranks rarely need repair.
My first pickup was about 19 years old when a
spaced out teen slammed into it while it was parked
on a quiet side street. The driver's side window crank
was beginning to slip at that point. An electronic window
control probably would have failed long before. Similarly
with electronic ignition. A new key costs me maybe $3.
A new electric key costs more like $130. And my door
lock can't be hacked remotely.
| >because everything was optional. So the base
| >price was low and you could get only the options
| >you wanted.
| Though that presumably meant ordering from the factory, not the dealer;
| on the whole I'd probably prefer to do that too, but would anticipate
| getting poor service from dealers as a result.
That's a relevant point, but in my experience doesn't
apply. I've never ordered a car or truck. I'm talking
about what's *normally* available. My Nissan with only
the AC package was in stock locally. The two Toyotas
I bought were in stock locally. I need them for work
and with two of them didn't have time to wait. So
that's what I was talking about: The variations in what
companies provide normally.
Some companies won't let
you order less options at all. They define them as stock.
If you look at the factory stickers (I assume it's the
same in Britain as the US) one car for $30K might list
17 options included. Another for the same price might
have no options. It's all standard. If you buy a "white
collar car" you're likely to have less choice.
So it's two things: Can you buy a particular model
without electric windows at all, and if so, are there
any available without custom order. If the answer to
#1 is true then usually the answer to #2 will be true.
(Though with my Nissan I had to find the truck I
wanted online, through the Nissan site. The local
dealer then went to get it. They were in no hurry
to understand that they could have found that truck
themselves, preferring that I pick something on their
As for service, I've never gone to a dealer for service
and never would. In the US they price gouge, exploiting
people who think only the dealer can fix it properly. My
local dealer would love for me to go in for periodic
checks and oil changes.
I did go in for a recall with my last Toyota. About
5 years ago, I guess. The model was recalled for excessive
rusting. For some reason, underbody coating is no longer
available in the US and my truck was, indeed, rusting.
So I took it in. They did some kind of idiotic painting
job, painting on something that looked like dirty motor
oil with rubber dust in it. The stuff never dried. Messy.
And it doidn't sem to slow the rusting, which is part
of why I traded it in later. The dealer I went to was
in a wealthy town. The staff for doing the recall work
appeared to be a dozen Brazillians. Apparently they
were importing low-wage "wetbacks" to save money
on the recall costs. As it turned out, they broke a bolt
on one of the exhaust pipe sensors and didn't fix it.
That quickly started making noise and I had to fix it.
| > In my current Nissan Frontier I wanted an
| >automatic, so I also had to take AC, bluetooth,
| >cruise control, quad-speaker CD player. Those
| >were all classified as "standard, at no charge".
| >I didn't want any of them. (Though I do use the
| >AC.) At the same time, I had to pay extra to
| >get "optional" floor mats. :)
| You put optional in quotes - what would have been there if you'd
| declined the "option"?
It's carpetted. But without mats the carpet would
quickly become filthy, damp most of the time, and
salt-damaged in Winter. So the mats were worth
getting. I think they were something like $50.
On my first Toyota pickup the rear bumper was
optional. I made my own from 2x6 oak. (Red oak.
Not as hard and durable as English brown oak, but
still pretty tough.) One of my brothers has a
welding setup and he made me brackets for it. It
actually worked well. But now I'm older and I want
quality. So I have a nice chrome bumper, almost
as thick as a Coke can. :)
Ironically, the best bumper I ever had was on a cheap
Fiat 128, in the 80s. It had shock absorbers. Very
sensible. Most cars now in the US just
have painted plastic. You get in an accident and the
bumper flies off down the street. Then you can't get
it back on because the plastic brackets snapped in
the crash. It's actually not a bumper at all. More like
| So you could buy a standard transmission without A/C (etc.), but not
| auto? Interesting. Says something about the
| manufacturers/dealers/whoever's attitude to purchasers of the different
| transmissions. (In UK, with the possible exception of high-end cars, a
| manual gearbox - as we call them - is still the default, although auto
| is available on most cars if you want it, even small ones.)
I think there are two factors. One is what people want.
What sells. The other is a simple case of being forced
to buy extra things. But here a manual has become
unusual. I specifically wanted to switch because the US
has gone stop-crazy. New lights and 4-way stops pop
up regularly. It's got to the point that an 8 mile drive to
work might easily involve over 50 lights and stop signs. No
exaggeration. And the cops like to run scam traps, getting
anyone who doesn't fully stop at a 4-way stop in the
middle of nowhere. So it was getting very tedious
to drive, constantly starting over in 1st gear.
| I remember my Dad buying a very base-model car - I think it might have
| been in the '80s, or possibly even the '70s - and fitting a radio to it
| for him; I was surprised to find it not only had the wiring, but
| actually had the speakers! (In the doors, anyway, which IIRR was
| adequate for his wants. I'm pretty sure it was a Peugeot.)
Yes. I think most are like that. With my first Toyota
I bought a cigarette lighter at an auto parts store
and plugged it in. It's cheaper for them to just wire
| > I've noticed that a big trend now is pickups
| >that have a steel, body-matching, hinged bed cover.
| >Essentially it's a 4-door sedan with a giant trunk.
I'm not sure there's any correlate in Britain. In
the US there's a big-stuff obsession. There's also
a macho obsession and a pioneer mythology. Brits
pride themselves on intelligence. Yanks pride
themselves on tough. In the American West and
rural areas, a pickup plays the fantasy role of a
horse. Supermarket clerks and car wash lackeys;
coffee shop waiters and gas station attendants;
even white collar workers; they drive around in a
pickup with a rifle rack in the back window, maybe
wearing a cowboy hat, and probably with rope in
the bed, just in case they come across John Wayne
needing help to pull his wagon out of a ravine
before some nasty injuns or bandoleros arrive. :)
| >There may come a time when people think it's
| >odd to sell a pickup without a bed cover. Then
| >someone will "invent" the work truck.
| All these things go around and come around. In computers, it used to be
| mainframes with dumb terminals (in extremis, even electromechanical ones
| called teletypes); then the terminals got more and more included into
| them, until we had the PC. Then it went round again, with servers and
| "thin clients", ...
I hate that analogy. (But that's OK. You didn't
know. :) It bugs me because it's part of the marketing
to make cloud sound like it makes sense when really
cloud is mostly just a power grab. People had
terminals off of mainframes because a usable
computer actually had to be the size of a room.
Services for PCs are an unnecessary scam invention
that are only now becoming possible, due to constant,
fast connections, but are still not relevant. For the
most part -- as with Office 365 or Photoshop --
they're not even running remotely. It's not a thin
client running remote "rich" functionality. It's a
powerful, multi-core machine with no reason not
to run all software locally.
I suppose a computer phone could be thought
of as a thin client. But making a PC thin client
would be idiotic. One can't even buy hardware
that limited. Last I saw, 16 GB was the lowest level
of RAM for sale, per stick.